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Review of Biblical Literature Blog

Hierarchy, Unity, and Imitation: A Feminist Rhetorical Analysis of Power Dynamics in Paul's Letter to the Philippians
Marchal, Joseph A.

Atlanta/Leiden: Society of Biblical Literature/Brill, 2006 pp. viii + 261. $39.95/$122.00

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Description: Typically Paul’s letter to the Philippians is seen as joyous and relatively “harmless.” Yet distinctive features of Paul’s arguments—his appeal to unity and use of military and ancient patronage imagery—have troubling aspects, demonstrating the distinctly hierarchical nature of Paul’s rhetoric as he attempts to construct an authoritative position for himself in the eyes of the community. By attending to the power dynamics that inhere in the argumentation of Philippians, this feminist rhetorical analysis reevaluates the relevance of Paul and Pauline interpretation, highlighting a new set of hermeneutical options for the study of Philippians. In addition to examining the rhetorics of interpretation, this work focuses on the critical issues of gender and of colonial and military status, in particular by considering the roles of Euodia and Syntyche and civic and military images in the letter. It thus serves as an illustration of the relevance of feminist approaches toward both biblical literature and biblical interpretation.

Subjects: Bible, New Testament, Pauline Epistles, Phillipians, Literature, Methods, Literary Approaches, Rhetorical Criticism, Ideological Critique, Feminist Approaches

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Review by Jennifer Bird
Published 4/14/2007
Citation: Jennifer Bird, review of Joseph A. Marchal, Hierarchy, Unity, and Imitation: A Feminist Rhetorical Analysis of Power Dynamics in Paul's Letter to the Philippians, Review of Biblical Literature [] (2007).

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